Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Party Over Poe’s Passing

Nine months ago we celebrated the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth in Boston, Massachusetts. Today marks 160 years since that author’s mysterious demise in Baltimore, Maryland.

In commemoration (and perhaps also to firm up Baltimore’s claim to Poe’s legacy, which has been disputed by Philadelphia in the recent past), the city has scheduled a series of appropriately eerie events honoring the great man’s passing. Today, from noon to 11 p.m., the public is invited to an open-casket viewing of “Poe’s body” at the Baltimore Poe House and Museum. At midnight begins an all-night vigil at downtown’s Westminster Hall and Burying Ground, where the author’s grave can be found. (A photograph of yours truly and January Magazine editor Linda L. Richards at the gravesite, taken during last year’s Bouchercon in Baltimore, is available here.) And this coming Sunday, October 11, beginning at approximately 11:30 a.m., a funeral procession will transport “Poe’s casket” through the city streets from the museum to the burial ground. “There,” reports The Baltimore Sun, “actor John Astin will serve as host for a memorial service featuring eulogies from a host of Poe fans.” While no big deal was made of Poe’s interment 160 years ago, this time multitudinous well-wishers -- including performers dressed as Arthur Conan Doyle, H.P. Lovecraft, and Alfred Hitchcock--will be on hand to usher Poe off to the Great Beyond. Tickets for this event go for $35 in advance and $40 at the door; seating is limited.

On top of all this, the Baltimore Museum of Art has mounted a presentation titled “Edgar Allan Poe: A Baltimore Icon.” Explains the museum’s Web site: “This dramatic exhibition brings together 80 prints, drawings, and illustrated books drawn largely from the BMA’s distinguished collection. These rarely shown works of art explore the enduring legacy of Poe’s uniquely dark fiction through the themes of Love & Loss, Fear & Terror, and Madness & Obsession. See how ‘The Raven,’ ‘The Black Cat,’ ‘The Tell-tale Heart,’ ‘The Pit and the Pendulum,’ and other Poe classics inspired some of the greatest artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.”

For a complete listing of Baltimore’s Poe-related events, click here.


Post a Comment

<< Home